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How does Chevy StabiliTrak work?

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Service, Tips and Tricks on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 at 4:12 pm
2018 Chevy Traverse light blue side view

What to do about Chevy StabiliTrak error messages

StabiliTrak is a fairly common feature on new Chevy models, but what is it? How does it work? And what do you do about Chevy StabiliTrak error messages? We have all your answers and more right here along with examples and some basic troubleshooting tips.

What is Chevy StabiliTrak?

Chevy StabiliTrak logo and error light

You’ve heard of all-wheel drive before. You can think of StabiliTrak as an AWD system for your brakes. Of course, all modern vehicles have brakes at all four wheels, but outside of a factory brake bias adjustment, they generally apply the brakes in the same manner for all situations.

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Chevy thought of a smarter way of doing things, and they call it StabiliTrak. With StabiliTrak, your Chevy can apply the brakes to each wheel individually. Take a look at these two examples below to see just how beneficial that can be.

StabiliTrak While Fishtailing

Chevy StabiliTrak correcting a fishtail

In this example, your car over turns and fishtails. This situation is commonly referred to as oversteer. To get your car back on the right path, StabiliTrak engages the outer front brake. This friction will help get you out of the fishtail.

StabiliTrak While Sliding

Chevy StabiliTrak correcting a slide

In this example, your wheels are turned, but the car continues to go straight. This situation is commonly referred to as understeer. To help get your car pointed in the right direction, StabiliTrak engages the inside rear brake.


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2015 Buick Encore sliding in snowWhat to do about a StabiliTrak initializing message

This is actually a common message that usually means there is nothing to worry about. It just means that StabiliTrak is not currently able to initialize. This can be due to a variety of reasons including road conditions or improper tire size. If the message persists, then you should take your vehicle in for service.

What to do about a Service StabiliTrak message

This message means there is a malfunction. Sometimes you can fix a StabiliTrak with a simple power cycle. Start by pulling over, and turning your Chevy off. Let it sit for a minimum of 15 seconds. If the message is gone when you turn the car back on, then you are good to go, otherwise you should seek service.

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